Mexico mass grave: Exhumation of 116 bodies in Morelos

5/25/16 BBC News

800px-Morelos_in_Mexico_(zoom).svgMexican authorities have begun exhuming 116 bodies found buried in a mass grave in the central state of Morelos.

The rural grave, discovered last November in the town of Tetelcingo, consists of two 10m (33ft) deep pits.

Prosecutors say that the bodies may have been dumped illegally by morgue officials, but the investigation into who is responsible is ongoing.

Morelos is among the worst-affected states in Mexico’s epidemic of drug-related violence.

At least 20,000 people have disappeared across Mexico, the UN estimates – other organisation put the number far higher.

Investigators at Tetelcingo worked under a yellow tent as families of missing persons and National Human Rights Commission representatives looked on.

Genetic samples will be taken from each set of remains to attempt identification before they are reburied in marked graves.

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Texas Murder Trial to Shed Light on Mexican Drug Cartels

4/24/2016 The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Guerrero Chapa had just finished shopping for shoes with his wife, but moments later the 43-year-old Mexican lawyer was dead, struck by multiple shots from a 9-millimeter pistol. The gunman and an accomplice drove away, the brief early evening encounter caught on a surveillance camera.

The 2013 slaying stunned this upscale North Texas city of 29,000, which hadn’t seen a murder since 1999. But that wasn’t all: the man killed was allegedly a prominent member of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel drug trafficking organization, according to U.S. federal officials. His assassination brought that country’s drug war to the doorsteps of the serene American neighborhood where the Guerrero Chapas lived.

[…]”Spillover violence…is not widespread,” said Christopher Wilson, deputy director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Based on 2014 FBI crime data, Mr. Wilson calculated that the murder rate in U.S. border states with Mexico was 4.4 per 100,000 residents, less than the national average of 4.5 per 100,000 residents.

Read the full article here.

How an Overlooked Impact of Mexico’s Drug Violence is Holding Back its Economy

3/19/16 Business Insider

The war on drugs that has raged across Mexico over the past decade has led to the deaths and disappearances of hundreds of thousands of people.

The human costs of the drug war and related violence are well known, but the chilling effect on Mexico’s economic vitality has been harder to measure.

Recent research has shown that high levels of violence in Mexico — like the 7.6% increase in homicide rate the country experienced in 2015 — not only have a negative impact on workers, but also prevent complex economic activities from starting and growing.

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Five former presidents demand an end to the war on drugs

3/24/16 The Economist

drug_war_02AS THE drug war has rumbled on, with little to show for all the money and violence, its critics have become a more diverse bunch than the hippies and libertarians who first backed drug reform. The latest broadside against prohibition was fired on March 24th by a group of former heads of state and businesspeople, who put forward a sober case for rethinking the international approach to drug control.

“Ending the War on Drugs” is a collection of essays by former presidents of Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Nigeria and Switzerland, as well as a former deputy prime minister of Britain and assorted scientific folk. George Soros, a financier who has bankrolled many pro-legalisation pressure groups, provides a chapter; the book carries an introduction by Richard Branson, a business mogul whose company, Virgin, is its publisher. All condemn what they see as a political, economic and public-health failure.

The arguments are well-rehearsed but bear repeating, especially when made by such a diverse and level-headed group. In spite of its vast cost to taxpayers (estimated by the authors at $100 billion per year) the war against drugs has failed to stop people taking them, instead driving up the price of narcotics to the point where they generate upwards of $300 billion a year for their dealers and traffickers. More than 1.4m drug arrests are made each year in America alone, and they are unevenly distributed, with black Americans jailed for drug offences at ten times the rate of whites, the authors write.

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Five murdered youth in Mexico confused for cartel members

3/1/16 Reuters 

2000px-Veracruz_en_México.svgFive young Mexicans killed last month by gang members with ties to local police were murdered after being mistaken for a rival cartel, a top security official said Tuesday, another possible case of corrupt law enforcement in league with organized crime.

The individuals were killed in a particularly violent zone of Veracruz state known as Tierra Blanca, their remains dumped into a local river, deputy interior minister Roberto Campa said in an interview with broadcaster Televisa.

“(The five young people) were burnt and then afterwards their remains were pulverized, certainly at a sugar mill, and they were then dumped into a small river,” said Campa.

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Murder, torture, drugs: Cartel kingpin’s wife says that’s not the ‘El Chapo’ she knows

2/22/2016 Los Angeles Times

She sweeps into the restaurant dressed elegantly in black slacks and a sleeveless, pale pink blouse, a white ribbon tied demurely at the neck. Her bag is Prada. If there are bodyguards, they have waited discreetly outside.

As wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Emma Coronel Aispuro seems anxious not to cause a scene as she moves into a private room in the crowded restaurant, a popular seafood place on the sweltering banks of the Tamazula River. She smiles softly and speaks quietly.

“I don’t have any experience at this kind of thing,” she says.

The 26-year-old former beauty queen has never spoken publicly about her eight years of marriage to a man who has headed one of the world’s most violent criminal organizations, responsible for much of the marijuana, heroin, methamphetamines and murder produced in Mexico.

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Mexico Violence Linked to Youth Unemployment: Report

1/25/2016 InSight Crime

InSightLogo_main_24bitA new World Bank report states there is a correlation between homicide rates and the number of unemployed male youths during the apex of Mexico‘s drug war, a telling reminder that improving public security requires more than just criminal justice reform.

The recently released report (pdf) examines the risks facing Latin America’s “ninis,” a term used to describe youth who are neither in school nor active in the work force. Using data from Mexico‘s national employment surveys, the study concludes that there is no correlation between the amount of ninis and homicide rates from 1995-2013.

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